Brad McQuaid and Richard Garriott Team Up

We had a chance to talk with Brad about the possibilities of this dream team.

You'd be hard-pressed to find two names more storied than Richard Garriott and Brad McQuaid. McQuaid's EverQuest and Garriott's Ultima Online were genre-defining titles that are envied and emulated to this day.

More recently, they've both returned to their roots with new crowdfunded development efforts. Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar funded on Kickstarter last year and recently released its first alpha build to backers. McQuaid's latest effort, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, has its Kickstarter campaign currently underway, promising a return to old-school MMO gameplay with modern technology.

Now, these two industry pioneers are teaming up to allow for some creative cross-game crowdfunding opportunities – and maybe even some cross-over content! I had a chance to ask Brad McQuaid a few questions about this collaboration; questions that should make fans of both games, and online gaming in general, very excited!

ZAM: "You realize this is a little like Batman and Superman teaming up, right? What led to the idea for this collaboration? Who called who?"

Brad McQuaid: "It's kind of funny how it turned out. I've known Richard for some time now and, during a brainstorming session, I thought I'd reach out to him just to see where he was at. As it turns out, he had already been talking with the Portalarium team to drum up some ideas along these lines. So it seems our thinking was pretty much in sync. Maybe a 'spider-sense?'"

Z: "Have you ever worked together before on any projects back in the day?"

BM: "We actually haven't done anything together formally, but we've known each other for some time now. He's always been an inspiration to me ever since I was a teen playing Ultima II. So I was pretty giddy when this opportunity came up in that regard too."

Z: "In what ways do you see the target audiences of both games being similar enough that this kind of thing might appeal to them?"

BM: "In some ways that's like comparing the audiences between Ultima Online and EverQuest. There are many who have played and enjoyed both; I think we'll see that with Shroud of the Avatar and Pantheon, especially nowadays. Very few gamers only ever play one game and there's plenty of reasons to check both out. We anticipate a good amount of players are looking forward to both, so why not give them something extra to look forward to for both?"

Z: "You guys have an interesting idea with the cross-game cloak reward for backers of both games. How did that idea come about?"

BM: "We were trying to think of ways that we could have some sort of cross-game item that wouldn't have such an impact to either game that it would change the story or world. So the cloak was one of the first solid ideas that we knew we could work with in a relatively quick amount of time. That being said, that's not the only idea that came up. There's other stuff we're talking about that would take a significant amount of more time from each studio. We have to work out details to see if it's doable but, if we can make it work, we've got some pretty awesome ideas."

Z: "Is there a specific amount or tier that a player must pledge to both games in order to receive the cloak reward?"

BM: "The short answer is $25 for each game – however, the $25 tier for Shroud was only available during its Kickstarter phase. If a backer who hasn't already backed Shroud of the Avatar is interested, they'll need to pledge at the Adventurer level, which is $45 I believe."

Z: "Do you think there's an opportunity for deeper integration, perhaps even lore that might tie Terminus and New Britannia together?"

BM: "Oh, there's some really cool stuff that could be done here but, again, it's too early to get into much more on it right now. We need to hammer out the details and figure out what's even possible. There's no shortage of creativity in the ideas – we just need figure out what will work."

Z: "Finally, how about a quick update on the Kickstarter status. How's it going so far? We've been keeping an eye on all of the updates and pledge tier additions."

BM: "We've seen the needle point at a sharper incline again this week. We've had some great opportunities over the week to get the story out in more places, and that's just what we need to do more of, constantly. We're feeling pretty happy with where we are and the opportunities that we have coming down the pipe but that doesn't mean we're going to stop. There's lots more coming so it should be fun."

There you have it folks. If you believe in what these two legendary designers are doing, and if you were waiting for a reason to back Pantheon or Shroud of the Avatar – or both – there hasn't been a better time than now.

- Bill "Lethality" Leonard


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